It’s been almost three years since they debuted and now Red Velvet are back with their 5th mini album ‘The Red Summer’. The girls have been on a bit of a roll this year with their last album ‘Rookie’ becoming their best selling album yet. Therefore it’s not all that surprising to see the girls continue with their quirky pop sound with this new album.
The album opens with lead single ‘Red Flavor’ which is a high energy pop track. There are elements of the song that remind me very much of their debut single ‘Happiness’ and ‘Rookie’. My first impression was that the track was missing something. The production was a little lacklustre in the verses, missing that key ingredient but at the same time, it was stuck in my head instantly. It’s certainly not as jarring as Rookie was when I first heard that. I do think it will continue to grow on me over time but at the moment, I feel like it lacks a little identity, something that all their other singles have had.
As is pretty much standard in K-Pop these days, the 2nd track on a mini is the strongest and there’s no exception here. I would really like to know who at SM Entertainment decided that ‘You Better Know’ be relegated to an album track because this has number 1 written all over it. And I’m not just talking Korean number 1, I’m talking good enough to launch them in the West. A sultry electro pop ballad, this is something I could see the pop girls of the US clambering to record. The girls sound phenomenal as well, in particular Seulgi who has such a gorgeous voice.
And now we’re onto ‘Zoo’ and again I’m wondering why this wasn’t the lead single. IT’S SO GOOD! I’d call this tropical pop – it’s very high energy with strong dance elements and Summer vibe. It’s a really popular sound in pop right now and again this is the sort of track I could see Western girl groups like ‘Little Mix’ and ‘Fifth Harmony’ wanting to release. The girls sound fantastic here as well and each member gets a chance to shine. I really wish this was a single, the music video could have been incredible.
‘Mojito’ while not as strong as the songs prior still manages to be incredible. The chorus is absolutely euphoric. It’s sort of a darker electro pop track than ‘You Better Know’. It has really strong hooks throughout and sounds a little futuristic? It’s the sort of electro pop ballad that would be amazing Autumn/Winter single. I love the talky parts, it’s just sublime. As is customary for most Red Velvet releases, the album closes with a ballad called ‘Hear The Sea’. It’s a little jarring going from all the incredible immaculately proceeded pop to a more standard K-Pop ballad. It’s a really cute song and the harmonies are wonderful, it just doesn’t fit with the rest of the album. It’s super obvious that they have worked with Western producers for the album except for this one.
It’s clear that Red Velvet are going from strength to strength, the quality of this EP is testament to that. They really are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of K-Pop and they’ve continue with this quality of music then they could very well be SM’s biggest girl group, maybe even becoming the Nation’s Girl Group. Twice who?